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Rum Reviews

Eminente Millesime 2012, 10 Year Old, 100% Aguardiente, Bottled for Excellence Rhum & La Confrerie du Rhum 10th Anniversary, 55.5% ABV

 

Cuba needs little introduction as one of the largest islands in the Caribbean with a culture so steeped in rum, so much so that in November 2022, UNESCO recognised the knowledge of producing Cuban light rum as part of its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Cuban rums are distinctively different all others, with a particular focus on blending and aging in neutral casks. To keep it simple - almost all Cubans rums are composed from various column still distillates, starting with the building blocks of the aguardiente (~75% abv) and destilado de caña, or light distillate (~96% abv). The aguardiente undergoes a minimum aging period of two years, before it is blended with diluted light distillate to create a base rum. Each base rum is a unique combination of aguardiente and light distillate, forming different base rums which are then further aged and blended to create what we know as Cuban rums.

So what makes this 10-year-old Cuban rum from @eminenterum, created for @excellence_rhum and @la_confrerie_du_rhum’s 10th anniversary, stand out from all the rest is the simple fact that it was derived entirely from 100% aguardiente, aged for ten years in two ex-whisky barrels. The first was filled with aguardiente at 75% abv or still strength and rested for several years at the highest level of the cellars which increases the interaction between the distillate and the oak, while the second was filled with diluted aguardiente. The rum was then released in two batches, both numbering at 330 bottles each, and at 55.5% abv.

The nose was an appealing one, very rich, paired with intensity, and a punch not often associated with Cuban rums. But the similarities were unmistakable, bright citrus, a dab of olives, unripe bananas, even some light varnish undertones. Those vanilla notes were also exceptionally strong, very likely influenced by the fact that both were first fill casks. And as it opened-up it did get a lot sweeter, floral, nectar, and even a dab of maple syrup.

The palate was slightly odd but yet interesting in my opinion. On the one hand, there was a substantial intensity to it, although nothing that might give you a “burn”. Yet it also seemed slightly hollow, as though there was something missing right down the middle. It was also very interesting because the notes were so similar to a cognac - those unmistakable grapes, a little hint of plasticine, cola, and candied fruits as well. In the finish, the rum evolved into what I thought drew many similarities to an agricole rhum, slightly vegetal, Chinese herbal jelly, and a bit of dryness and vanilla from the relatively fresh casks too.

I must say I rather enjoyed this rum. I’ve always had an appreciation for Cuban rums, given how different the process of Cuban rum making is. But for me, this particular bottling really exemplified the potential of pure Cuban aguardiente rums in the future.

 

Image Courtesy of @weixiang_liu

  

Your occasional rum addict!

@weixiang_liu